"I'll grant that you're a talented swordsman, but you will never defeat me. Do you know why? The key is the blade you're holding. You praise its magical power, but all I see is a length of crude steel; empty and dead. There's no conviction in your weapon, and there isn't a shred of will in you either. My weapon is my will to fight manifest in physical form. It's my hatred. It's what you're lacking: bloodlust."
-- General Malzak, the Punishing Scourge
A soulknife channels his fighting spirit through his or her unique weapon, the mind blade. When that spirit is corrupted, the soulknife begins to pour his or her negative emotions into his or her weapon. Rage, sadness, and hatred color the blade black as night and give it a fell power. Onyx Flails are experienced soulknives who have learned to shape their signature weapon into a shimmering black dire flail made of destructive energy, powered by negative emotion and bloodlust. Their latent psionic power also blossoms as they learn to meld together their weapon technique and mental abilities. Terrifying and skilled, these warriors are destined to conquer the front lines of battle... but at what cost to their humanity?
Becoming An Onyx Flail
Due to the stringent requirement of being able to form a dire flail mind blade, all Onyx flails begin as soulknives. Some decide to devote themselves to the perfection of their mental weapon, and thus continue their careers as soulknives. Others see fit to master other types of martial prowess, taking levels in fighter, cleric, hexblade, or dark paladin (aka paladin of tyranny or slaughter). Onyx flails also are known to take levels in rogue, gaining some stealth ability and the ability to inflict painful ambush attacks. Spellcasters essentially never attempt to master the onyx flail, as the art of manifesting one's mind blade is too far removed from the arcane arts.
Entry Requirements Alignment: Any nongood. Skills: Intimidate 4 ranks. Feats: Dire flail mind blade.*
*Dire flail mind blade is a [Psionic] feat from Complete Psionics. It requires both the ability to generate a mind blade and the shape mind blade class feature -- in other words, it flat out requires 5th level soulknife. It grants you the ability to form your mind blade into a dire flail and also grants you the exotic proficiency required to wield it.
Onyx Flail Hit Die: d10
Base Attack Bonus
Maximum Power Level Known
Onyx flail, psychic strike +1d8
+1 mind flail, flail exploit
Mind flail enhancement +1
+2 mind flail, flail exploit
Onyx oblivion, psychic strike +2d8
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Autohypnosis, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Psionics), Profession, Ride, Swim.
The Onyx Flail class charges the soulknife's signature weapon with bloodlust, making it stronger than a normal soulknife's blade. An Onyx Flail also learns how to better utilize psychic strike, and techniques to deliver blows of sheer destructive energy.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Onyx flails gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
An onyx flail can manifest powers. His ability to manifest powers is limited by the power points he has available. His base daily allotment of power points is given on Table: The Onyx Flail. In addition, he receives bonus power points per day if he has a high Wisdom score. His race may also provide bonus power points per day, as may certain feats and items. If an onyx flail has power points from a different class, those points are pooled together and usable to manifest powers from either class. Bonus power points from having a high ability score can be gained only for the character’s highest psionic class.
An onyx flail chooses his powers from the psychic warrior power list. At 1st level, an onyx flail knows two psychic warrior powers of your choice. An onyx flail can manifest any power that has a power point cost equal to or lower than his manifester level (an onyx flail's manifester level is twice his onyx flail class level). The total number of powers an onyx flail can manifest per day is limited only by his daily power points.
An onyx flail simply knows his powers; they are ingrained in his mind. He does not need to prepare them (in the way that some spellcasters prepare their spells), though he must get a good night’s sleep each day to regain all his spent power points.
The Difficulty Class for saving throws against onyx flail powers is 10 + the power’s level + the onyx flail’s Wisdom modifier.
Psychic Strike (Su)
As the soulknife class feature, and stacks with any other sources of Psychic Strike the onyx flail has. An onyx flail can charge his dire flail mind blade with psychic strike as a swift action instead of as a move action. Gains +1d8 bonus damage at 1st and 5th level.
Onyx Flail (Su)
An onyx flail that manifests a dire flail mind blade has advantages over a normal soulknife. First of all, he or she receives his or her wisdom modifier as a bonus to attack and damage rolls with the dire flail mind blade. The onyx flail can also attack with a dire flail mind blade as if he or she possessed the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, even without a dexterity score of 15 or higher. Any abilities the soulknife has with his or her mind blade (such as Weapon focus, Throw mind blade, or Knife to the soul) can also be used with the flail.
Your onyx flail improves as you gain higher levels. At 2nd level, the onyx flail gains a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls, and at 4th level the bonus improves to +2. These enhancement bonuses stack with previous enhancement bonuses gained earlier for your soulknife class levels. Likewise, these enhancement bonuses also improve your soulknife base attack bonus. If your return to your soulknife class progression, these mind flail enhancement bonuses on attack and damage are cumulative bonuses on top of any new enhancement bonuses gained, and they benefit both your mind blade and onyx flail. You must split the amount of enhancement between both heads of the flail, but you can alter this with 8 hours of concentration.
Even in places where psionic effects do not normally function (such as within a null psionics field), you can attempt to attack foes with your onyx flail by making a DC 20 Will save. On a successful save, you can freely produce your onyx flail for a number of rounds equal to twice your class level before you need to check again. On an unsuccessful attempt, you must wait 1 round before trying again while you remain within the psionics-negating effect.
Flail Exploit (Ex or Su)
At 2nd and 4th level, an onyx flail learns a special technique usable only with his or her flail. Choose any one ability from the following list.
Essence Erosion: You may sacrifice 1d8 points of psychic strike damage to deal 1 point of strength damage. This is a supernatural, mind-affecting ability.
Momentum Crash: When you make multiple strikes against the same opponent in a single round, each consecutive strike gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage for every successful hit you land. If you miss, this resets back to +0. This is an extraordinary ability.
Terrifying Whirl: You spin your flail in an arc, threatening a group of enemies as a move action. You may make an Intimidate check to demoralize all enemies within 60 ft., and add your class level as a bonus to the check. This is an extraordinary ability.
Wounding Spikes You may sacrifice 1d8 points of psychic strike damage to lacerate your enemy and create a bleeding wound, causing instead 1 point of bleeding damage. This is a supernatural, mind-affecting ability.
Onyx Flail Enhancement (Su)
At 3rd level, you may imbue your flail with any melee weapon magical abilities, as long as the total is equal to or less than 1 plus any mind blade enhancement you have from soulknife levels (you are no longer limited to the list given in the soulknife class description). The amount of enhancement must be split between both heads of the flail, but you can change the allocation with 8 hours of concentration (during which you can also shift the enhancement bonus and rest to restore your power points).
Onyx Oblivion (Su)
The pinnacle of an onyx flail's art of war is to refine his hatred to the point of utter destruction. Once per day, you can activate onyx oblivion as a free action, and it lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your wisdom modifier (minimum 1). In this state, your flail is considered constantly charged for psychic strike (you deal psychic strike damage on every attack you make automatically, but you cannot "double charge" your weapon). In addition, any living target not immune to mind-affecting effects and reduced to 0 HP or less by a flail strike while you have this ability activated must immediately make a fortitude save (DC 20 + your wisdom modifier) or be immediately disintegrated, as per the sorcerer spell.
My intended balance point for this class is tier 3; roughly on par with a Psychic Warrior or Soulbow, but perhaps slightly ahead and with more options. Logical entry is of course either Soulknife 6 or Soulknife 5 / Anything 1 (Dire flail mind blade basically requires level 5 soulknife, but will be taken at level 6, unless you somehow can get a feat at level 5).
For characters that go Soulknife 5 / Anything 1, a good idea might be to dip into a class that offers heavy armor proficiency, as nothing prevents the soulknife from using his weapon in heavy armor IIRC and it makes the character less dexterity-dependent. Soulknife 5 / Cleric 1 seems like a pretty good idea. Soulknife 5 / Monk 1 could also be an idea for unarmored wis mod to AC.
At ECL 11, a psychic warrior has ~10 more PP and 3 more powers known, but max power level of 4th, while the soulbow has roughly the same amount of enhancements, but no additional psychic strike or powers. Soulbow also gets Wis mod to damage, and will get wis mod to attack through Zen Archery.
This kind of character will depend on Wisdom, Strength, and Constitution, roughly in that order. If they want to use tripping, then 13+ Intelligence is required.
I want to keep the class as a "quick" 5-level progression if possible, so that characters who only reach high middle levels can still have fun with the capstone and take levels in other classes. One possible extension of a build that uses Onyx Flail would be the Exotic Weapon Master, as you'd pretty much automatically qualify for it anyway and be able to do more cool things with your flail.
The ability I'm probably most concerned about is the "terrifying whirl"; I'm not very familiar with how fear effects scale or combine, I just figured that this character would be a menacing sort. Some insight on how this would combine with things like Imperious Command, or Fearsome armor, or similar things, would be really helpful in figuring out whether I need to scale it up or down. I think the other flail exploits are probably in line with where I want them to be (Essence Erosion is just STR-targeting knife to the soul, for example).
I think the capstone is reasonable and powerful enough without being horridly broken. Wizards get disintegrate as a spell at around this level, anyway.